A 2018 study suggests that extroverts earn an average of $500,000 more than introverts during their lifetime. While that might seem discouraging at first, did you know introverted entrepreneurs are more likely to succeed in online businesses, as they can leverage their strengths in concentration and deep thinking to create innovative ideas?
Not everyone is cut out for the extrovert lifestyle, and it shouldn't change anything.
That doesn't have to stop you from making money.
So, if you don’t like having a boss whom you report to every hour or clients who call you even on your off days, here are some business ideas that you should really consider if you’re an introvert or simply don't want to interact with many people.
Before I begin this list, I want to reiterate that this isn't a "get rich quick" kind of thing. Starting a successful business takes time, regardless of whether you work with people or not.
I'd even argue it's harder if you're building something solo that doesn't rely on others. But it's well worth it. Here are some ideas you should totally try as the new year kicks off.
The Best Online Businesses for Introverts
Starting a business with little to no client interaction can be daunting, but not impossible. Here are some business ideas to get you started:
Blogging or Freelance Writing
Information is in high demand, and blogging is a profitable medium for sharing insights, opinions, and valuable content in real-time. The most important step in making money through blogs is finding a niche and establishing your reputation within that community.
I always dissuade people from blogging if they don't have a specific skill set they could highlight and help others with. But honestly, many of us actually do have something we know a lot about. Whether it's a hobby, educational interest, or trade you've learned over the years. I personally know some bloggers that make around $80,000 a month (but this is with 20 years of life experience + 5 years of blogging about it).
From there, you can earn through:
- Affiliate marketing: Earn a commission when your readers click a link through your website and purchase a product or subscribe to a service. It brings in a majority of money here at Gold Penguin and is probably the best way of finding an entry into some kind of market. It's not easy at all, but it's rewarding when it works.
- Advertisements. This includes PPCs, banner ads, and other forms of advertising. You can expect to earn somewhere around $20 per thousand visitors to your website. Think about how much money this is if you're getting thousands of views... every single day.
- Sponsorships. Some brands can commission your blog to write about their business and expand their reach. This requires you to have a brand that you've built, which probably takes a minimum of 2 years and that's if you're doing everything right.
Once you’re well-known, you can also consider making premium content through Patreon or Medium (or, ideally, your custom newsletter). This can net you a couple hundred or thousand dollars per month, but it does mean more workload and interactions with your subscribers.
Make use of the wide availability of AI tools that can automate certain tasks and make running operations easier on yourself. For example, AI writing assistants like ChatGPT or Claude can help craft blog posts and other content with little input.
How Much Can You Earn With a Blog?
There are a lot of factors to consider like location, niche, and reach. According to Wix, you can expect up to $2000 per month in your first year, and $100,000 once you build a core audience. It took me half a year to make my first dollar, then after about a year and a half, it made enough to cover my rent completely.
If you’re good with crafts or finding valuable items, you can also consider creating an online store. This is an extremely accessible market, especially with the number of online platforms for e-commerce like Amazon, Shopee, and Lazada. You can even create your own website using Shopify. And if you want to extend your reach through content creation, Instagram and Tiktok also have an e-commerce interface.
Sell something cool, make use of social traffic, and you could make tons.
My best advice if you’re going this route is to figure out what you’re actually good at. Whether that’s handcrafting scented candles or flipping gadgets, there will always be consumers looking to buy what you can offer.
How much should you expect with e-commerce? Like physical stores, the sky’s the limit with online shops. However, this industry has a lot of variability, too, when it comes to net income and even survivability. If you’re looking for a ballpark, successful e-commerce stores can earn around 5 to 6 digits per month.
Print on Demand
If you want to sell shirts or other design-based products, you should look into creating a print-on-demand business. This will help you set up an online store without ever worrying about inventory.
The best thing about this type of business is that you can fully automate it for passive income. All you need is ChatGPT and your favorite AI image generator like Midjourney or DALL-E. For more information about this business model and its projected net revenue, I highly recommend reading this article.
The concept behind affiliate marketing is simple: Promote other brands’ products or services, and earn a commission for each sale made through your unique affiliate link. However, making money through this method is anything but simple.
You need lots of content and an established audience before you can even think about affiliate marketing. Remember that what you earn is based on how your unique link performs.
How much should you expect with affiliate marketing? According to Ahrefs, the average salary of an affiliate marketer makes an average of $59,000 yearly through affiliate marketing. That's an extra $5k a month that is entirely based on other people buying things you suggest.
My advice: Pick something you're incredibly good or knowledgeable about and inform the world about it (through TikTok, blogging, YouTube, etc.). If you're good at it and keep it up for long enough, you'll never look back.
Graphic design will never go away, and it’s one of the most accessible ways to earn money online if you’re an introvert. Apart from getting requirements from a client or completing a revision, you don’t really have to interact much with anyone.
My advice for starting a graphic design business is to build a solid portfolio. Pick your best artwork and display it on Instagram, or better yet, your own unique website. Once people take notice of your work, clients will start pouring in.
How much should you expect with graphic design? According to ZipRecruiter, the median hourly salary of a graphic designer is $34.67.
Now there's a huge elephant in the room in 2024, and it's AI. It's a lot harder to break into the industry, but that also means if you specialize in something incredible, you could make even more money. Think of using AI image generators like the ones mentioned earlier to supplement your very own design skills. Make use of your creativity, image generators, and your own marketing skills.
Most introverts I know are naturally drawn to software engineering because of its low-interaction environment. Establishing a business in this niche is pretty easy if you have the know-how and the GitHub profile to back it up. Be warned, though — writing code is far more difficult than it may seem.
You can offer two types of services as a freelancer or a business owner: web development or mobile development. The former is generally more beginner-friendly, and you can get by by using WordPress for blogs and Shopify for online stores. The latter is a lot more complex, but the rewards are worth it if you stick with it.
How much should you expect with software development? US-based freelance web developers can expect upwards of $70,000 on average, while mobile developers can make around $60 per hour for iOS and Android.
You could replace a full-time job (aka no more talking to people) and still net out a pretty solid salary on your own schedule with little interaction with people.
Stock images are a multi-billion dollar industry that you might never have considered, but you’ve definitely seen. They are everywhere. From every social media site to every run-of-the-mill wedding video, stock images and videos are an underappreciated aspect of content creation.
If you’ve got a full gallery of professional images, you can consider offering them to stock websites for profit. If not, you can also create realistic photos with Midjourney or other AI image generators, and upload them to websites that allow AI images. This might not be as profitable though, since there's less of a barrier to entry.
How much should you expect with stock images? This depends fully on how well your images perform. You should also factor in the platform’s royalty fees in calculating your income. Adobe Stock, for example, implements this pricing scheme:
Licensee's Adobe Stock Plan
Your Earnings Per Download
3 Credits Per Month
10 Credits Per Month
10 Credits Per Month
25 Credits Per Month
25 Credits Per Month
40 Credits Per Month
40 Credits Per Month
350 Credits Per Month
$0.33 to $0.40
A keen eye for detail and a love for wordplay: that’s all you need to become a successful proofreader. Your primary work will be to meticulously review written material, catch every grammatical error and typo, and ensure language clarity.
How much should you expect with proofreading? The Editorial Freelancers Association suggests that freelance proofreaders should be paid $31 to $45 per hour.
And the good news is you use your brain and thoughts for this type of work, not your mouth. I could totally see some tricks to speed this up by running things through AI to glance at areas that might need to be focused on over others. Never forget to use AI to your advantage.
The world is more interconnected now than ever before. However, language barriers still persist, and until we can create an accurate digital translator that can detect tone, intent, and accurately convert text from one language to another, human translators will always be in demand.
You can likely make use of AI here, too. But AI should be used as a tool, especially with how variable translations are. I wouldn't trust a robot as much as someone with native knowledge of a language.
How much should you expect with translation? Translators based in the USA receive a median salary of $50,000 per year.
Whether you’re a fiction or a non-fiction writer, as long as you have the skills and a strong narrative voice, you can always pursue a career in writing books online. These can range from simple tutorials, autobiographies, retellings, and even erotica (yes, that sells a lot more than you might think)
Breaking into this industry can be tough, but my best advice is to start by writing what you know. If you really want to write about a specific topic, research everything you can. And as always, proofread. Then proofread again.
How much should you expect with e-books? Self-publishing can be lucrative, but it’s more dependent on your online presence and marketing than your writing skills. It can range from just barely enough to cover your investment to millions of dollars.
Tip: write things you can sell to people that have money
If you have an area of expertise, you can also offer your knowledge as a service through digital courses on Udemy or Coursera. This is a lot more intensive than the other options because this includes planning your course, creating a curriculum, and making video content for each lesson.
How much should you expect with digital courses? I personally know many people doing well over 6 figures from selling courses, but they do have very specific industry knowledge that they've built over the years. So this option really only makes sense if you've been working somewhere for a while, learned a lot, and want to transition that knowledge to share with others. It's not something you can just magically start.
Dropshipping is a popular e-commerce business model that completely takes away inventory from the equation. Instead, you take a consumer’s order and information, then provide it to your partner manufacturer or supplier, then they’re the ones taking care of order fulfillment for you.
Sounds like easy money, right? The problem with dropshipping is that it’s extremely competitive. You’ll often hear six to seven-digit earnings per year, but you won’t hear from the Average Joe who just lost thousands of dollars in marketing. This niche isn’t for the fainthearted nor the lazy — this is a full-time job, which is perfect if you don't want to deal with anyone throughout the day,
How much should you expect with dropshipping? Dropshipping is a coin toss. Some earn upwards of $10 million annually, but most fail in their first year. It's also a lot harder to do in 2024 than it was 10 years ago. Competition, restrictions, and headaches. It's still viable though. It's how I made my first few dollars back when I broke into the online world.
The Bottom Line
These 12 ideas prove that business doesn’t really matter if you’re an introvert. With the right skills, you can find your place in the world and figure out how you can turn your talents into real money.
But sometimes, you can do everything right and still fail. The reality is that a lot of online businesses survive because luck met opportunity somewhere along the way.
I mean, it's not failure if you never give up, right? If you keep pivoting off on one of these ideas, you're more than likely going to find yourself a nice niche you could start to make money in. Good luck!